Lee  Crognale

Mullen recognizes that a strong economy is the foundation upon which a strong military rests. When the U.S. economy is healthy and growing, we can invest in providing our men and women in uniform with the best technology and training they need to achieve their mission.

As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I’ve seen how our nation’s investment in a strong defense has made the world safer, freer and more stable. And I also recognize how that defense is jeopardized by Washington’s orgy of overspending.

The most recent evidence is the looming cuts to defense under “sequestration” that began in March. This process will reduce defense spending by some $500 billion over the next decade.

So maybe that’s a good start toward getting our runaway spending under control? Not entirely. Obviously, reductions in defense spending are understandable and even necessary, given that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming to an end. And the Department of Defense must continue working to eliminate inefficient and wasteful spending.

The problem is that we’re not dealing with the real spending problem. The defense cuts under sequestration will do little to reduce the deficit, and nothing to reduce the debt (the nation still is slated for a deficit of $642 billion this year, even with the cuts). The only way to cut deficits and begin to bring down the debt is to tackle the biggest spenders in the federal budget—entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

To ensure that the debate on spending receives proper focus, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) is hosting a special panel presentation in Washington, D.C., on July 11 titled “The Need for Spending Reform.” Speakers will include former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who will offer a bipartisan view on what’s needed to tackle the debt. To watch online, go to www.concernedveteransforamerica.org.

It’s time for President Obama and Congress to work together to restrain runaway spending in Washington—and not just in the defense budget, but in our expensive health care and retirement programs as well. We must reform these programs to make them solvent for future generations, and fix our bloated balance sheet. We can’t afford more delays.

Lee Crognale

Lee Crognale is the State Director for Concerned Veterans for America, an Iraq veteran and resides in the state of Ohio.